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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

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Mining the latest dining gems NYC has to offer

rice roll
Joe’s Steam Rice Roll
Photo by Joe DiStefano

The amount of excellent food available in New York City is dizzying, yet mediocre meals somehow keep worming their way into our lives. With Eater editors dining out sometimes several times a day, we do come across lots of standout dishes, and we don’t want to keep any secrets. Check back weekly for the best things we ate this week — so you can, too.


December 3

A white styrofoam plate with rice noodle and shrimp rolls
Shrimp rice rolls at Joe’s Steam Rice Roll
Monica Burton/Eater

Shrimp rice rolls at Joe’s Steam Rice Roll

Rice rolls are by far my favorite dim sum order, so I was very pleased to hear that Flushing hawker stall Joe’s Steam Rice Roll opened up a stand in Canal Street Market, a much more convenient location for me than Queens. Rice rolls are all that’s on offer, and better than at dim sum, here you get a whole plate of the stuffed rice noodles to yourself for $5 to $7. I ordered the shrimp and opted to add sprouts and scallions, topping it all off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. It made for an ideal late afternoon snack, and I’m looking forward to a return trip the next time I’m in the area. Canal Street Market, 265 Canal St., between Broadway and Lafayette Street — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Shrimp caldo at Atla
A half portion of the shrimp caldo at Atla
Ryan Sutton

Shrimp caldo at Atla

There are few places I’d rather be on a Saturday afternoon than at Atla, the ambitious all-day Mexican spot by Daniela Soto-Innes and Enrique Olvera. This is despite the obvious detractions; you can’t get a cup of coffee or tea here in less than 15 minutes. And a single concha will cost you $9 (really). But man, the food always comes through. The $13 pork belly taco is still great, and the new shrimp caldo ($19) is otherworldly. The kitchen concentrates the flavor of the namesake crustacean to the power of ten. It is profoundly sweet, saline, and thanks to some chile, spicy. Larger pieces of shrimp impart a bit of meatiness, but really, you’re here for the clear, stunning broth. 372 Lafayette Street, near Great Jones Street — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Szechwan Absolute
Boiled fish in green peppercorn oil at Szechwan Absolute
Robert Sietsema

Boiled fish in green peppercorn oil at Szechwan Absolute

Szechwan Absolute is the third Sichuan restaurant to appear in the modern apartment complex and retail center known as One Fulton Square, one floor up from the original Sichuan Mountain House. The menu is elaborate and tends to be spicy as hell, as seen in this dish of boiled tilapia filets, enough for a half dozen diners ($26.95). The spectacular spicy flavor comes not only from the lake of red chile oil that floods the fish, but from chopped fresh green chiles, dried red chiles, and whole Sichuan peppercorns. 39-16 Prince St., between Roosevelt and 39th Avenues, Flushing — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Fried chicken at Thai Bird
Fried chicken at Thai Bird
Serena Dai

Fried chicken at Thai Bird

When my family gets together, the joke is that everyone eats together at home, and then the moment we leave the house, my brother magically gets ravenous again. To quench his cravings, we stopped by the new Smorgasburg near Barclays and partly decided to try Thai Bird because of a discount for people who used Apple Pay. The fried chicken, laced with Thai spices, turned out to be the best thing we ate that day; even my picky parents agreed. It had a non-greasy fry and robust, juicy meat, plus a fun kick of spice that wasn’t overbearing. The portion size was pretty good, too. Smorgasburg Winter Market, 625 Atlantic Avenue, near Barclays — Serena Dai, editor

Bread pudding at Eleven36

If you find yourself at this petite Crown Heights cafe Eleven36, you’ll also find yourself staring at the options on the pastry and bread counter. But you can’t go wrong. Among the items in heaviest rotation is the bread pudding loaf, which on a recent weekend was a stellar version studded with chocolate and walnuts. The loaf is moist and always different (a pro or con depending on how you look at it), and never too sweet. The olive oil cake with toasted fennel shouldn’t be missed either. 1136 President Street, between Rogers and Nostrand Avenues, Crown Heights — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

Steak salad at the Smith

I’m on a new kick to try to eat healthier at restaurants, so this week instead of getting a burger and fries at the Smith, I ordered the steak salad ($27). Nothing can replace the joy of french fries, but the substantial and perfectly medium rare steak in my salad at least satisfied my beef craving. Mixed in with the big flavors of arugula, endive, red onion, blue cheese, tomato, and balsamic, I was able to feel not only somewhat virtuous, but also sated. Multiple locations — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

November 26

Pastry spread at Lilia Caffé
Pastry spread at Lilia Caffé
Daniela Galarza

Pastry spread at Lilia Caffé

Recently, I agreed to meet a friend in Williamsburg — which is a 55-minute subway ride from my apartment — at 9:30 a.m. so we could try the tiramisu bomboloni at Lilia’s always-packed cafe. First we had a fritelle di San Guiseppe, which is sort of like a supersized cruller, and would be good with a sugar-laden latte. Then, we shared a tiramisu bombolone (its light dough barely encases a perfect mocha zabaglione), grape focaccia (salty and sweet!), and a maritozzi, which is basically a whipped cream sandwich. Now that I’ve had the whole menu, I can’t wait to see what Lilia’s bakery team pulls out of the oven for the Christmas season. 569 Union Ave., near Frost Street, Williamsburg — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Roasted chicken at Prime Meats

In less than a week, I’m told, Prime Meats, a Germanic-leaning chophouse, will shutter to make room for a larger annex of Frankies 457, the Italian-American mainstay by chefs Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo. I’m a bit bummed about the changeover; I’ve been hanging at Prime Meats for the better part of a decade. Alas, I went one last time with my folks on Thanksgiving weekend and the food, per usual, was just about perfect. Of particular note was the roast chicken ($26), which was just that, an expertly cooked bird with soft meat and crispy skin, set over butternut squash puree. Prime Meats surely isn’t the only place serving proper poultry, but still, I’ll miss it. 465 Court St, near Luquer St., Carroll Gardens — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Potato pie at Artopolis
Potato pie at Artopolis
Robert Sietsema

Potato pie at Artopolis

Located in a strip mall near the last Queens stop on the N and W, Artopolis is the city’s most distinguished Greek bakery. Sure, there are sweet cookies, filo pastries, and holiday breads, but there are plenty of savory snacks, too. One of the tastiest is the potato pie ($3.50): two conjoined cylinders of crisp filo wrapped around an herbed and pureed potato filling. Eat it at room temperature, or the counter attendant will be glad to warm it for you. 23-18 31st St., between 23rd Road and 23rd Avenue, Astoria — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Steamed shiitake buns at Momofuku Noodle Bar
Steamed shiitake buns at Momofuku Noodle Bar
Carla Vianna

Steamed shiitake buns at Momofuku Noodle Bar

A second, more spacious location of Momofuku Noodle Bar recently opened inside the mall at Columbus Circle, and I swung by last week for some ramen. While the ramen was great, it was the caramelized shiitake buns ($13) that will keep me coming back. The warm bun was stuffed with strips of crunchy mushrooms that almost tasted like bacon with refreshing cucumbers. Doused in hoisin sauce, these buns were well worth dodging the throngs of holiday shoppers at the Columbus Circle mall. 10 Columbus Circle, third floor, Upper West Side — Carla Vianna, reporter

Chicken francese at Dimaio’s

I very happily spent the better part of last week in my New Jersey hometown, where one night my family and I got takeout from 34-year-old Italian restaurant Dimaio’s. Chicken francese is one of my Italian-American joint go-to’s, and the version at Dimaio’s ($17.95) doesn’t disappoint. The sauce is ultra silky and buttery, with a good acidic lemon kick. Served over penne, it’s a classic I can eat time and again. 468 Springfield Ave., near Summit Avenue, Berkeley Heights, NJ — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

November 19

Raoul’s
The burger at Raoul’s
Nick Solares

The burger at Raoul’s

I lined up bright and early for the burger legend that is Raoul’s, since the Soho French bistro only serves 12 a night at the bar. This ($27) burger admittedly is less about the meat — a brisket blend — than it is about the toppings, specifically the black peppercorn. Those peppercorns coat the patty, which is then seared in butter and served with watercress, red onions, cornichons, and rich triple cream Saint-André cheese on an Amy’s Bread challah bun. Pepper-lovers will delight in the flavors here, which don’t induce coughing but are certainly sharp and highly aromatic, tempered by the richness of the meat and cheese, plus the acidity of the onions and cornichons. It’s served with a side of creamy, thin duck fat fries and addictive cognac au poivre sauce. 180 Prince St., between Thompson and Sullivan Streets, Soho — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

the Cannibal
General Tso pig’s head at the Cannibal
Robert Sietsema

General Tso pig’s head at the Cannibal

Well, it’s really a half pig’s head, and if you flip it over, you’ll find half a tongue. As for the rest, the heavy mass is all skin, fat, bone, and connective tissue, with a concentration of rich meat along the jaw and in the cheek. The pig’s head ($85) at the Cannibal is really more like moo shu pork, a dish that probably originated in Shandong, Northern China. It comes with gossamer wheat pancakes and a shredded vegetable salad, and the crisp skin, available in abundance, is what the dish is all about. 111-113 East 29th St., between Park and Lexington Avenues, Murray Hill — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

<span data-author="-1">Buns seen from above. </span>
Barbecue pork buns at Tim Ho Wan
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Barbecue pork buns at Tim Ho Wan Hell’s Kitchen

The famed Hong Kong dim sum parlor opened up its second New York location earlier this month — in my own Hell’s Kitchen no less. I swung by on a Saturday morning and true to form, the only available seating was at the bar, which is standing only. I have some reasonably strong opinions about chains in Hell’s Kitchen, an area of Manhattan known for its small, independent operators. But I’ll admit, the food here was quite good. Tim Ho Wan’s barbecue pork buns ($5.25), in fact, were even better than I remember them at the East Village location. The buns were everything they should be: gently cracky on the outside with a soft, doughy interior stuffed with sweet pork. The treats packed just enough sugary goodness to pair with a steaming pot of jasmine tea. 610 Ninth Avenue, near 44th Street, Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Kebab Empire
Meat skewers at Kebab Empire
Serena Dai

The lamb at Kebab Empire

I’m not near Columbus Circle often, so when my lunch plans fell through last weekend, I was actually quite pleased to finally try Ryan Sutton-favorite Kebab Empire nearby. I tried chicken, beef, and lamb, and while all were juicy specimens, the lamb ($2.50) was by far the best. Chunks of lamb arrive on metal kebabs over a metal tin, which catches the overflow of juice. Order three, sprinkle some cumin on, and have a cup of free warm milk tea — it’s a filling meal, and a delicious and affordable one. 934 Eighth Ave., between West 55th and 56th Streets — Serena Dai, editor

Trapizzino nyc
Pollo alla cacciatora trapizzino
Carla Vianna

Pollo alla cacciatora trapizzino at Trapizzino

There’s nothing not to love about a trapizzino, the popular Roman street food dish that’s essentially a hot pizza-pocket filled with savory Roman recipes instead of tomato sauce and cheese. I chose the pollo alla cacciatora trapizzino — a pocket of salty dough that’s crisp on the outside while soft on the inside, overstuffed with thin slices of chicken marinated in rosemary and slathered in a creamy, garlicky white wine sauce. The trapizzino was stuffed to brim and albeit a bit messy, but the mess was worth it. And at $7.50, it’s a perfectly affordable — and quite filling — choice for lunch. 144 Orchard Street, on the corner of Rivington Street, Lower East Side — Carla Vianna, reporter

November 12

<span data-author="-1">Shoyu and shio ramen at Ivan Ramen</span>
Shoyu and shio ramen at Ivan Ramen
Ryan Sutton

Shoyu and shio ramen at Ivan Ramen

I’ve been thinking a lot about Ivan Orkin’s noodle shop Ivan Ramen lately, especially as the Long Island-native prepares to replicate his concept across the globe. What I’ve always loved about Ivan is that it’s a great place to get acquainted with the classic ramen styles, even if they all boast an Orkin twist or two. I swung by his counter service spot at Gotham West on Thursday and ordered the shio and shoyu ($14 each), and damn, they were stellar. The shoyu, per usual, was darker than competing versions elsewhere, packing a deeper, richer, saltier, and more caramelized flavor. The shio, in turn, exhibited an obscene amount of smoky bonito goodness, making it uncharacteristically assertive for such a style. And the thin rye noodles, as always, were gorgeously thin and not too filling. I’m stoked to see more Ivan Ramen elsewhere! 600 11th Ave., between 44th and 45th streets, Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Reina pepiada arepa at Caracas

A couple street closures in Williamsburg re-routed me to Caracas Arepa Bar for brunch on Sunday, and I’ve forgotten all about where I was headed in the first place. An easy choice was the reina pepiada ($10), where cooling avocado chicken salad is wrapped around a warm, cornmeal arepa to create one of the best arepas on offer at Caracas — though honestly there isn’t a dud on the menu. There is cilantro, onions, and mayo all in there too, which make for a satisfying and lightweight meal that is stupid-good. 291 Grand St., between Havemeyer and Roebling streets, Williamsburg — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

Carnitas tacos at Colonia Verde
Carnitas tacos at Colonia Verde
Daniela Galarza

Carnitas tacos at Colonia Verde

Colonia Verde has been humming along in Clinton Hill for the past four years, and it’s easy to see why it’s still tricky to get a seat during the week (or on a weekend): Chef Felipe Donnelly’s food, which travels from Mexico to Cuba to Peru to Colombia, reminds diners of Latin cuisine’s depth and breadth. Meats and fish achieve a pleasantly smoky char on the grill; salsas veer from sour to sweet; fritters are impossibly crisp; tortillas and arepas, impossibly tender. Everything I had at a dinner out last week was wonderful, but I’m still thinking about Donnelly’s carnitas tacos ($16), in which the texture of coffee-rubbed braised pork meets warm grilled pineapple, pickled onions, and a crisp, cold slaw. There were three of us at the table, and four tacos; I am not embarrassed to admit that I fought for the last one. 219 Dekalb Ave., between Adelphi Street and Clermont Avenue, Clinton Hill — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

<span data-author="-1">Gurullos at La Vara</span>
Gurullos at La Vara
Monica Burton

Gurullos at La Vara

Cobble Hill’s La Vara is my special occasion go-to, and every time I go, I most look forward to the gurullos, a Murcian pasta with a semolina and egg base ($18). The handmade noodles are rolled into soft logs with a wonderfully soothing, almost gnocchi-like texture. These days, they’re served atop a layer of yogurt and brown butter and generously sprinkled with sumac and mint. It’s a rich and satisfying dish, and the cozy Brooklyn brownstone setting makes it all the more perfect this time of year. 268 Clinton St., at Verandah Place, Cobble Hill — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Cashew cheese plum tostada at Atla

I took a vegan friend to Atla this weekend, confident staff at the hip Mexican restaurant would be very accommodating, based on the amount of athleisure typically present. And they were! Everything was flames as usual, but the sneaky standout was the cashew cheese tostada, a coaster-sized disc coming in at $14. The dish packs a blast of sweet and savory notes, with sweetness from the sesame crisp and savory from the “cheese” and herbs. I was surprised how much I liked it and will sadly return for it often. 372 Lafayette St., at Great Jones Street, Noho — Daniel Geneen, host of “the Eater Upsell”

Tomatoes at Saint Julivert Fisherie
Tomatoes at Saint Julivert Fisherie
Robert Sietsema

Tomatoes at Saint Julivert Fisherie

As cold weather sets in, the last tomatoes of the season are sweet, and Cobble Hill’s Saint Julivert treasures them in a salad ($13). There are medium purple tomatoes cut in wedges and miniature cherry tomatoes halved. Jumbled together, both rest on a pillow of mayonnaise with a light texture that reads more as a sauce, and the first bite reveals a flavor surprise: vanilla. It makes the tomatoes seem ever sweeter than they are, and you’ll find yourself scooping up the rest of the mayo and eating it once the fruit is gone. 264 Clinton St., at Verandah Place, Cobble Hill — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

November 5

French hot dog at Bistro Eloise
French hot dog at Bistro Eloise
Robert Sietsema

French hot dog at Bistro Eloise

Take one high quality, extra-long frank and stick it in a fresh demi-baguette, along with sautéed bell peppers and onions, melted Swiss cheese, and grainy mustard, and you’ve got Bistro Eloise’s phenomenal French hot dog ($12). Every day is brunch day at newcomer Eloise, and other highlights of the lunchtime menu include a pork bell sandwich, gooey French onion soup, and a whole roster of omelets and buckwheat-flour savory crepes. Obscurely located in a Jackson Heights shopping center. 75-57 31st Ave., between 75th and 76th streets, Jackson Heights — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Braised brisket at Loosie’s Kitchen

I’m still going back and forth between the brisket and the tempura long beans at Loosie’s Kitchen in Williamsburg as the best thing I ate this week. But let’s go with the brisket ($27); mostly for its perfect braise, the char siu flavoring which sings of chef Henry Lu’s childhood at a fast food Chinese restaurant, and the pleasantly-sweet parsnip garlic puree. Get the tempura long beans too. 91A South Sixth St., between Berry Street and Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

French toast at Prime Meats
French toast at Prime Meats
Daniela Galarza

French toast at Prime Meats

I am almost always disappointed by French toast when I order it out; it’s a dish best served at home. But I am here to tell you that the French toast at Prime Meats ($16) was worth it — and you should try to catch it while you can before the restaurant closes. It’s made with hearty slices of miche, a naturally leavened whole grain bread, that are soaked in a custard mixture overnight before being fried in a deep pool of butter. The bread’s crumb almost deep fries in the fat, yielding a pudding-like interior and marvelously dark mahogany exterior. Four half slices are topped with berries and served next to small bowls of whipped cream and maple syrup. A few slices of bacon and a cup of strong coffee make nice accompaniments. 465 Court St., at Luquer Street, Carroll Gardens — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Yuzukosho ramen at Mentoku

Yasuo Okada’s Hakata-style slurp shop is located, according to Mentoku’s website, in the heart of New York’s “ramen district.” For those who care to know, this so-called noodle neighborhood more or less overlaps with the borders of Hell’s Kitchen. Make of that what you will, but let the record state my ramen ($13) was pretty good! The tonkotsu broth was both porky and clean, without any excess richness or coarse sediment. The noodles were firm and al dente. And the yuzukosho, that very of-the-moment condiment, sat on top, allowing for the diner to mix in the fragrant chile citrus paste to their taste. Know how much I mixed in? All of it. And while I’m not sure this is New York’s ramen district, I’ll be back for sure. 744 Ninth Ave., near 50th Street, Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Kronnerburger at Morgenstern’s
Kronnerburger at Morgenstern’s
Stefanie Tuder

Kronnerburger at Morgenstern’s

This isn’t the nicest best dish for me to pick — since you can’t currently get it — but it is the most honest. Bay Area chef Chris Kronner cooked his famed dry-aged burger for a night at Morgenstern’s new flagship ice cream parlor in Greenwich Village, and it was excellent. The meat Kronner uses is insanely high quality — a combination of freshly ground dry-aged beef from five- to seven-year-old Holstein cows from Mindful Meats, unaged 18 month-old grass-fed Angus beef, and short-rib and neck trim. That, on a She Wolf bun with aged white cheddar mayonaisse, iceberg lettuce, charred red onions, and dill pickles, made for a juicy, supremely beefy dinner last week. Next time Kronner is cooking in town, go. 88 West Houston St., at LaGuardia Place, Greenwich Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Breakfast egg rolls at Olmsted
Breakfast egg rolls at Olmsted
Carla Vianna

Breakfast egg rolls at Olmsted

Everything about my brunch at Olmsted was fantastic — from the paloma cocktail to the jelly-filled Austrian doughnuts — but the breakfast egg rolls were easily the star of my meal. I seriously recommend heading to this Prospect Heights restaurant just to try the crispy-fried rolls stuffed with soft scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheddar cheese, served with a miniature bottle of green tomato ketchup for dipping ($15 for four). It’s the type of dish that I wish existed in food stands all over NYC; I would easily grab a batch of them for breakfast, a pre-lunch snack, or a late-night bite. If only I skipped the mediocre post-brunch ice cream cone at nearby Ample Hills and ordered an extra serving of egg rolls instead. 659 Vanderbilt Ave., between Prospect and Park Places, Prospect Heights — Carla Vianna, reporter

October 29

Surf and turf at the Palm
Surf and turf at the Palm
Stefanie Tuder

Surf and turf at the Palm

My platonic ideal of steak is at the Palm. Yes, that chain restaurant with goofy caricatures all over the wall. But a meal there — no matter where in the world — has never disappointed me, with tender, perfectly medium rare, and crazy charred New York strip that’s always aged for a minimum of 35 days ($99.50 for 36 boneless ounces). Last week’s steak was accompanied by a massive lobster, which servers graciously deshell for you, and crunchy, creamy fries. If you go to the one in Tribeca, you’ll see my goofy father and brother on the wall — that’s how much my family eats here. 206 West St., between Chambers and Warren streets, Tribeca — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Lucknow Dum Biryani Adda Long Island City Robert Sietsema

Lucknow dum biryani at Adda

Most everyone is familiar with the meat and rice cook-up known as biryani, savory with sweet and pungent spices. But perhaps its most glorious form is a dum biryani associated with Lucknow, the capital of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Not only is this goat biryani laced with precious saffron, it’s also cooked in a pot whose top is covered with pastry, which seals in the flavors of the dish ($17). Find it at Adda, where it comes accompanied by a raita dotted with pomegranate seeds. 31-31 Thomson Ave., between 31st and Van Dam streets, Long Island City — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A white clam slice and a red tomato slice sit on paper plates at Gotham West Market Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Clam pie at Corner Slice

Michael Bergemann’s Italian bakery in Gotham West, which helped kick off the city’s current renaissance of slice shops, is now serving a clam pie. I typically sate my clam pizza fix at Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, or when I’m feeling fancier, at Pasquale Jones in Nolita. But it’s nice to see an ambitious bivalve pie available in a cheaper, more accessible format — the slice! Bergemann’s resident bakers at Corner Slice top the airy dough with briny chopped bivalves, cream, pecorino, parsley, and red pepper; the net effect is essentially New England clam chowder on gorgeously crusty bread ($4.50). I’m told the pizza, a collaboration with Seamore’s, is only available during the month of October. Here’s a vote to make it permanent! 600 11th Ave., near 45th Street — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A whole Sicilian pie in rectangular form with puffy dough Sonia Chopra/Eater

Sicilian pie at L&B Spumoni Gardens

L&B Spumoni Gardens is one of those few restaurants in New York that everyone claims is a real classic, serving a worth-the-wait pizza (Sicilian) in the worth-the-trek location (Bensonhurst). I finally made it there for a friend’s birthday last weekend, and the Sicilian pie ($24) is exactly as good as everyone claims. Get it plain, and it will come out as a beautiful, red-sauced rectangle sliced into good-sized squares (the group favorite was the middle slices, with no crust). Our pizza was dropped onto our table piping hot, less than five minutes after we placed our order — before any of the apps and even our drinks. If you’re lucky enough to live nearby, I’m jealous. And for everyone else: Listen to the hype, make the trip, and order an extra slice ($3) to go for breakfast the next day. 2725 86th St., between West 10th and 11th streets, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn — Sonia Chopra, director of editorial strategy

Grandaisy Bakery Daniela Galarza

Bread pudding at Grandaisy Bakery

I owe thanks to Robert Sietsema for introducing me to Grandaisy Bakery’s bread pudding ($4) earlier this month; it’s become such a favorite I’ve added it to my regular weekend bakery crawl. Grandaisy’s version is simple: A vanilla custard envelopes pillowy cubes of brioche, creating a dense base, which is then baked atop caramel. It’s inverted when it comes out of the oven so that the slightly salty caramel cap ends up on top. Have it with a cup of hot cocoa for an ideal chilly afternoon snack. 250 West Broadway, near Beach Street, Tribeca — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

October 22

<span data-author="-1">Gelato at Superiority Burger</span> Ryan Sutton

Gelato at Superiority Burger

I wasn’t in the mood for a cerebral review dinner on Friday; I just wanted something affordable and delicious and not completely predictable. So I swung by Superiority Burger — packed at 9:45 p.m. — for some tasty grub and a flawless dessert: mango sorbet with labneh gelato ($6). The fruit gave off a powerfully aromatic scent as it melted on the tongue, and exhibited a touch of heat as well (I’m told Superiority sometimes throws a little bit of chile into the base). The gelato, in turn, sat underneath the sorbet, its creamy sourness quelling the more assertive sugars of the mango. I need to eat here more often. 430 East Ninth Street, near Avenue A, East Village — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Fish Cheeks Serena Dai/Eater

Zabb wings at Fish Cheeks

Colorful Bond Street restaurant Fish Cheeks remains one of my favorite Thai restaurants in the city, and it’s one that has a fun set-menu deal. A chef’s selection section offers three different set meals, and for $45 per person, a table of three can get three apps and four entrees — all phenomenal. A standout dish is the zabb wings, fried chicken with chile, lime, and mint that cost $13 on a la carte menu. They have a perfect crunch without any grease, and the spice infiltrates the whole wing without overwhelming the palate. And that citrus kick sends it the extra mile. 55 Bond St., near Bowery, Noho — Serena Dai

Everything doughnut at Doughnut Project

Is it my imagination, or are doughnuts getting progressively sweeter and gloppier (and more expensive, too)? Well, Doughnut Project has developed recipes that take the genre in an almost savory direction, including one with a strip of bacon embedded in a baton of dough. The one that astonished me this weekend was the everything doughnut ($3.45), which takes a not-too-sweet dough, coats it in cream cheese frosting, and then sprinkles on sesame, poppy, and pumpkin seeds, garlic granules, and sea salt, in emulation of an everything bagel. 912 Seventh Ave., between 57th and 58th streets, Central Park South — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Margherita pizza at Razza

Oh boy, I’m late to the party here, but maybe just allow me to chime in and agree with critics and diners across the tri-state area who have already declared NJ’s Razza one of the best pizzas in America. By sight alone this looks like any other crusty, wood-fired pizza ($15). But pizza master and pizzeria owner Dan Richer has an 80-point scale by which he judges every pie that comes out of his ovens. These quality points — which measure characteristics like the impossible lightness and crispness of the crust, the sweetness of the sauce, the way the mozzarella melts, the amount the tip of each slice dips when you hold it up to take a bite, and the flavor of the olive oil drizzled on top before it goes to the table (never bitter!) — ensure each pizza that arrives at the table is perfect. There’s a reason everyone loves this place, there’s a reason there’s a line out the door every night, and there’s a reason why I don’t feel too bad being late to this praise party: Razza is simply the best pizza I’ve ever had. 275 Grove St., between Montgomery and Mercer streets, Jersey City, NJ — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

<span data-author="-1">Banh bot chien at Madame Vo</span> Stefanie Tuder

Banh bot chien at Madame Vo

Everything at Vietnamese hot spot Madame Vo was intensely flavorful — my favorite way to eat — but the rice flour omelet with Chinese sausage, scallions, peppers, and tons of fried garlic ($16) rose above for me. The rice cake patties inside the omelet were chewy and tender, while the Chinese sausage and fried garlic added salty and sweet notes. It comes with a side of fish sauce, which I didn’t even realize until I was done eating it. It did not need the extra flavor boost, but I’m sure benefits nonetheless. 212 East 10th St., between First and Second avenues, East Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

October 15

Roast brisket with gravy at David’s Brisket House

This wonderful anomaly, a Jewish deli run by Muslims, has lingered at the crossroads of Bedford-Stuyvesant since the 1960s. The corned beef and pastrami are totally up to par, and available in sandwiches of three sizes fit for any budget. But best of all is the fatty and nicely caramelized roast brisket, with comes moistened with gravy, with further gravy on the side. Get the largest size on a club roll ($16.99) and share it with a friend. 533 Nostrand Ave., between Atlantic Avenue and Herkimer Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Crab tostada at Amaranto

Amaranto, a full-service Mexican restaurant in Bushwick, was one of my favorites when I lived in the neighborhood, and I was delighted to find on a recent visit that the food is just as good as I remember. The crab tostada in particular ($12) stood out. It’s bright and tasted incredibly fresh, a perfect light start to a solid meal. 887 Hart St., at Irving Avenue, Bushwick — Serena Dai, editor

A slice of pecan pie at Pie Corps

This Greenpoint bakery fills up on weekend mornings for those looking to start their day off with pie for breakfast. I highly recommend pie for a late brunch, too, especially if you pick Pie Corps’s butterscotch-y pecan pie, with a buttery but crisp and flaky crust ($7). It’s full of toasty pecans, and the gooey syrup that surrounds them is just sweet enough to make a slice (or mini pie) a perfect foil for a cup of hot black coffee. 77 Driggs Ave., between Kingsland Avenue and Monitor Street, Greenpoint — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Soup dumplings at Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday afternoon is stroll around Hell’s Kitchen and check out new, affordable places to eat. So it goes that this weekend I finally got around to trying Peter Song’s Northern Chinese spot, Real Kung Fu. I ordered a plate of crab xiao long bao, and they were pretty good, packing a sweet, concentrated maritime tang ($10). 811 Eighth Ave., at 49th Street, Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Sourdough crepe at Momofuku Ko

My entire meal at David Chang’s tasting menu restaurant Momofuku Ko was spectacular. I sat in the bar room with some friends, and we ordered a pretty extensive set of dishes, including the much-talked-about cold fried chicken, pork pie, scallop crudo, and 45-day dry-aged steak. But the one I wish I could eat every single day was the sourdough crepe ($8). It was thicker than your average French crepe, with a crispy, lacy edge and incredibly tender, chewy center. The sourdough gave it a pleasant tang, while generous flaked salt on top made all the flavors that much more powerful. 8 Extra Pl., near East First Street, East Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

October 8

Dry-Aged Strip Loin at Ko Bar

My friend and colleague Adam Coghlan, editor of Eater London, flew into New York on Saturday, and asked me to join him at Momofuku Ko’s a la carte bar. Having named it one of the year’s best new restaurants (so far), I happily obliged! My body needed protein badly — I was coming off a tough 60-mile bike ride — so the right move was the dry-aged strip loin, singed to a perfect medium-rare over the binchotan coals. The flavors were stunning: The meat exhibited a clean sweetness, while the fatty bits packed an acidic funk that recalled good Stilton. The price? An almost impossible $42, service-included. 8 Extra Place, near 2nd Street and Bowery — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Spaghetti bottarga at Frenchette

I decided to treat myself and go for a solo dinner at the bar at Frenchette recently, and as expected, it was swamped. The quoted wait for one was 30 minutes around 8:40 p.m. on a Tuesday night, though of course it wasn’t just 30 minutes. A hefty pour of wonderful skin contact wine and simply being in the warm, lively restaurant eased any impatience I felt, as did the the spaghetti bottarga ($22), a lesson in how a simple dish can exude intense flavor. The bartender warned that it would take 15 minutes to come out; I ordered another wine and said that was quite all right. 241 West Broadway, between White and Walker streets, Tribeca — Serena Dai, editor

The grilled pork chop at Union Square Cafe

I’m usually not the biggest fan of pork, but I let my date make the order at our recent visit to Union Square Cafe (it was his birthday, after all). While the pork chop itself was soft and juicy in a way that would make even non-fans like myself thoroughly enjoy it, it was the marinated pairings — a mix of nectarines, summer peppers, and shelling beans — that really made the dish stand out. At $43 (tip included), the grilled Berkshire pork chop was worth every penny. So was the watermelon gimlet and the espresso chocolate cake that followed. 101 East 19th St., between 19th and 20th streets, Gramercy Park — Carla Vianna, reporter

Adas polo from Persepolis

The mix of sweet, salty, and sour is prized in Persian cuisine, and achieved with various condiments and side dishes. In the case of kebabs, the meat might have all of those flavors, or need help from a rice pilaf such as adas polo, which literally means lentil rice. In fact, long grains of basmati are stewed with both lentils and golden raisins. Eaten on the side of a lemon chicken kebab, it’s an ideal marriage of flavors. Eaten solo, perhaps with a scoop of yogurt on top, it’s a simple but satisfying lunch for just $6 at Persepolis on the Upper East Side. 1407 Second Ave., between 73rd and 74th streets, Upper East Side — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Enchiladas de Tejas at Javelina

In the three years since Tex-Mex sensation Javelina opened up east of Union Square, the food has settled down and improved, embellishing the cuisine with a few Yankee twists, but still a solid evocation of Mexican cooking in the Lone Star State. Evidence is this fine plate of enchiladas ($18), stuffed with cheese and flooded with chili gravy. The profuse toppings of chopped onions, pickled serranos, and lots of ground beef are a little over the top, but the effect is not contrary to the tradition. 119 East 18th St., between Irving Place and Third Avenue, Gramercy — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

October 1

Passionfruit flan at Pilar Cuban Eatery
Passionfruit flan at Pilar Cuban Eatery
Daniela Galarza

Passionfruit flan at Pilar Cuban Eatery

It’s hard not to order dessert at Pilar Cuban, where the key lime is perfectly puckery, a guava and cream cheese pie tastes like the best pastelito, and the churros and chocolate arrive warm, ready to dip into a cafecito. But don’t miss the obvious choice: Pilar’s flan is dense and buttery, rich with cream and egg yolks and just the right amount of sugar. The passionfruit caramel puddle beneath each wedge is a refreshing counterpoint to all that custard ($7). 397 Greene Ave., at Bedford Avenue, Clinton Hill — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Old-fashioned margherita at Patsy’s

Though the UES location of Patsy’s isn’t as old as the original, it still dishes out a pretty good pie. I stopped by for the old-fashioned margherita, a crispy-thin pizza doused in sweet-and-tangy tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. It’s probably the most “New York” slice of pizza I’ve had since arriving a couple of months ago. If you’re two people, go for the 17-inch (just $24), and if you’re one, I still recommend going for the 17-inch. The leftovers must be delicious — not that I would know. 1279 First Ave., between East 68th and 69th Streets, Upper East Side — Carla Vianna, reporter

Bhatti da murgh at Adda

Describing itself as an “Indian canteen,” new LIC restaurant Adda dips into several regional cuisines to present some very agreeable and somewhat unusual dishes. One is bhatti da murgh ($11), describing a chicken leg and thigh thickly coated with a spice mixture highlighting mustard and coriander seed. The result is a crisp pungency, once the chicken has been thrust into the tandoor and roasted. 31-31 Thomson Ave., between Van Dam and 31st streets, Long Island City — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

East Wind Snack Shop dumplings
East Wind Snack Shop dumplings
Serena Dai/Eater

Pork dumplings at East Wind Snack Shop

The pork dumplings ($6.50) at tiny little Windsor Terrace restaurant East Wind Snack Shop are technically called “juicy pork dumplings,” and it’s an apt moniker. The skins are a tad thicker than many of the pork dumplings commonly found in Chinatown — but that’s not so bad here, where the filling indeed bursts with juices. The dry-aged beef dumplings, which had a hint of sweetness, were tasty too, but nothing really beats the savory satisfaction of a solid pork dumpling. It would be a fine snack to grab before or after going to the park. 471 16th St., near Prospect Park West, Windsor Terrace — Serena Dai, editor

Tres leches cake at Vida Verde

For whatever reason dinner didn’t get the job done on a recent school night. The food was fine at that venue, whose name I’ll keep to myself, but Sutton was still hungry afterwards. And when Sutton is still hungry that usually means some form of dessert needs to happen in a very serious way. So I swung by Vida Verde nearby in Hell’s Kitchen for a frozen margarita (to take the edge off) and a proper slice of tres leches cake (to kill the hunger goblins in my tummy). And man, the tres leches cake ($9) really hit the spot. The traditional Mexican confection, which incorporates condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream, often veers toward the saccharine side of the sugar spectrum, but this version was a touch more savory and heady, with a wonderfully coarse texture on the cake. I almost ordered a second! 248 W. 55th St., near Eighth Ave., Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

September 24

Roni Supreme at Emmy Squared
Roni Supreme at Emmy Squared
Serena Dai/Eater

Roni Supreme at Emmy Squared East Village

First Avenue in East Village is a fantastic dining street, but for a city that never sleeps, few of my go-tos were open at 11 p.m. Luckily, Emmy Squared’s new East Village location was still taking food orders, though we were one of just a couple parties there. I have mixed feelings on the other Hyland restaurants, but man, all the hype for the Detroit-style pies are deserved. A criticism is that they are like far more expensive versions of Pizza Hut pan pies; I don’t disagree with that but consider the comparison a major pro. The flavors on the spicy Roni Supreme are also far more aggressive than Pizza Hut, and the crust that feels slightly undercooked is unique, too. Yes, at $20 for a pie that barely fulfills two, it is way pricier. In New York, though, you won’t get this pie anywhere else. 83 First Avenue at East Fifth Street, East Village — Serena Dai, editor

Cumin lamb noodles at Very Fresh Noodles
Cumin lamb noodles at Very Fresh Noodles
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Cumin lamb noodles at Very Fresh Noodles

After posting a very delectable noodle shot on Eater’s Instagram last week — that had some intriguing engagement — I decided I needed to eat those noodles stat. So I headed to Very Fresh Noodles in Chelsea Market for the hand-pulled cumin lamb noodles (12.86), and I was not disappointed. The doughy pasta was chewy and tender, with scallions, sauce, and lamb clinging to every bite. This location is also much closer to my apartment than any existing Xi’an, so I may have just found my new noodle go-to. 95 Ninth Ave., between 15th and 16th streets, Chelsea — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Golden Osetra caviar at Atomix
Golden Osetra caviar at Atomix
Daniela Galarza

Golden Osetra caviar with artichoke, fresh curd, and pine nut at Atomix

Atomix, the new fine dining spot from Atoboy chef Junghyun Park and co-owner Ellia Park, is remixing Korean flavors and textures to impressive effect. It has award material written all over it, and though the menu is seasonal, I can only hope they never take off the Golden Osetra caviar with artichoke, fresh curd, and pine nut. Only available as part of the $175 tasting menu, it tastes like a swim in the ocean on the warmest day: The caviar’s salinity is a refreshing contrast to the milky notes of the curd, buttery artichoke hearts, and soft pine nut cream. Each bite brings on a wave of happiness. 104 East 30th St., between Park and Lexington avenues, Nomad — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Pork cheek carnitas at Oxomoco

After another long work week, I managed to squeeze in a slow meal with my parents at Greenpoint Mexican restaurant Oxomoco. The beef tartare with grasshopper mayo is still solid, but this time my fave was a trio of pork cheek tacos ($21). The soft, richly flavored meat packed nicely sticky gelatins, a fine counterpoint to crispy bits of chicharron. And while I wish the tortillas here were a more compelling expression of corn, the same could be said of so many other New York Mexican spots. I’ll be back. 128 Greenpoint Ave., between Franklin Street and Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Yin Yang Soup at You Garden
Yin Yang Soup at You Garden
Robert Sietsema

Yin Yang Soup at You Garden

The new You Garden Xiao Long Bao in Bayside adds a few exemplary dishes to its downtown Flushing menu, some in a soup vein. This wonderful potage ($15.95), enough for four to share, is configured in a yin yang shape, and thus must be carried across the room very carefully by the waiter. It tastes of crab and cilantro, and the minute you’re finished eating it, you’ll crave another bowl. 41-07 Bell Blvd., between 41st and 42nd avenues, Bayside — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

September 17

Barbecued pigtail at A &amp; C
Barbecued pigtail at A & C
Robert Sietsema

Barbecued pigtail at A & C

Right on Utica Avenue, East Flatbush’s A & C is a typical storefront Guyanese and Trinidadian restaurant, offering the usual doubles, rotis, and bakes, along with a selection of pastry. But on the weekends, a charcoal barbecue is pushed out into the street. The selection of items varies, but this last weekend pigtails were offered, at $3, $4, or $5 depending on size ($3 variety shown). Skin intact and somewhat bony, they hide meaty pockets among deposits of fat and collagen. Brushed with a sweet sauce just before serving, these tails are spectacularly tasty. 847 Utica Ave., between Church Avenue and Linden Boulevard, East Flatbush — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Cote
Perilla leaf at Cote
Cote/Instagram

Fermented perilla leaf at Cote

My entire meal at one-Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse Cote blew me away — from the oyster with caviar and uni starter to the buttery wagyu to the Korean paella I want to eat every day. But what made me stop in my tracks was the fermented perilla leaf in the banchan parade, pictured here on the bottom left. Offered as a wrap for the high-quality meat, the perilla leaf flavor is unlike any I’ve tasted before: vegetal and funky, with a distinct tobacco flavor. It’s a very cool foil to the fatty steak. 16 West 22nd St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Flatiron — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Lobster roll at Red Rooster
Lobster roll at Red Rooster
Carla Vianna

Lobster roll at Red Rooster

I’m currently living in Harlem, so that’s how I ended up at neighborhood favorite Red Rooster for lunch. I came for the chicken and waffles, a recommendation made by a friend, but I stayed for the lobster roll ($18). In contrast to most lobster-filled sandwiches I’ve had, the one at Red Rooster was twice as large and three times as filling. And just as delicious. The roll was accompanied by a huge side of Old Bay-sprinkled fries that could almost make me call this a dish to share — if only it weren’t so good. 310 Lenox Ave., between 125th and 126th streets, Harlem — Carla Vianna, reporter

Enchiladas with mole at Parklife
Enchiladas with mole at Parklife
Ryan Sutton

Enchiladas with mole at Antojitos El Atoradero at Parklife

After a long workweek, I needed a drink on Friday evening! My good colleagues were nice enough to help with the chilling out process by taking me to Parklife in Gowanus, where I very quickly purchased a pitcher of frozen margaritas. One of my co-workers, in return, picked a plate of mole-drenched enchiladas with beans and rice ($15). And honestly it was precisely what I needed; saucy, warming, starchy, chocolate-y, meaty nourishment. The family recipes of chef Denisse Lina Chavez are for real! 636 DeGraw St., near Fourth Avenue — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Lemongrass wings at Di An Di

I finally made my way to Di An Di in Greenpoint, and it’s just as hip as I expected it would be. (If there were a cool Asians table of NYC, it would be here.) The food and drink matched up to the pretty space and fashionable staff, and standouts included the Vietnamese “pizza,” a rice paper crepe appetizer, and the beef pho Hanoi, which had fatty brisket. But the best thing on the table was a special of the night, lemongrass chicken wings with a crust that was crispy without being greasy ($9). It was just a tad spicy, and the meat inside oozed with warm juices. They reminded me of Pok Pok’s famous wings, not necessarily in flavor but in execution and the pure joy they elicited from the table. 68 Greenpoint Ave., between Franklin and West streets, Greenpoint — Serena Dai, editor

September 10

A ceramic crock with ribs and a thick brown broth inside, crusting on the lip of the vessel.
Suon Kho at Madame Vo
Daniel Geneen/Eater NY

Suon Kho at Madame Vo

Vietnamese food has been thriving in the Manhattan’s East Village ever since Hanoi house and Madame Vo opened the same time last year. While Hanoi House was the clear favorite early on, Madame Vo has been getting funkier with every visit and may be the tortoise in this race that I’m sure they want no part in. My favorite dish last time was the suon kho ($16), caramelized spare ribs in a sizzling sauce with black pepper and pineapple. The meat is fantastic, and equally fantastic is spooning the last of the sauce over a mound of white rice. Also, they have tons of bar-style walk-in only seats, so it is a perfect restaurant for poor planners like me. 212 East 10th St., between First and Second avenues, East Village — Daniel Geneen, co-host of Eater Upsell

Laddus at Sri Ganesh Dosa House

Laddus are orb-shaped pastries that are often eaten at Indian festivals. The version currently displayed on the counter at Jersey City’s Sri Ganesh Dosa House are sweet with sugar syrup, made with chickpea flour studded with slivered almonds. They are subtly flavored with cardamom and ghee. Deep fried and sold at $2.50 each, they make a very rich treat. 809 Newark Ave., between Liberty and Tonnelle avenues, Jersey City, New Jersey — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Semolina Pancakes at Barano

I am easily thrilled by a stack of pancakes, but the semolina pancakes ($14) at Al Dimeglio’s Barano are lasting and dreamy. The bread and butter of the dish is a bright lemon curd, invoking memories of all your favorite lemon desserts. It’s sweet enough that maple syrup isn’t really needed and comes draped on top of the delicate and fluffy pancakes, along with berries and basil, plus a hunk of butter teetering on top it all. Pure, pancakes-for-the-table bliss. 26 Broadway, between Wythe and Kent avenues, Williamsburg — Patty Diez, associate editor

A calzone topped with parmesan cheese on a metal tray with a side of tomato sauce
A calzone at Ops
Bill Addison/Eater

Calzone at Ops

To get to Ops on a weekend — at least the way weekend trains are working these days — the fastest route for me is often to take the G to the A to the L, a combination that fills me with enough dread that it even managed to block out the siren call of great pizza and natural wine. But then, like he’s wont to do, our critic Bill Addison wrote the kind of dreamy ode to calzones that prompted me to drop everything and go this Saturday. The calzone of the day (marinated kale, sopressata, mozzarella, ricotta) was as beautiful as it was delicious, and the wine recommendations from our server were set on. Note we did have a slight moment of panic because calzones aren’t on the menu, but there’s always one on special. 346 Himrod St., near Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick — Sonia Chopra, director of editorial operations

LA Gochujang Pork combo at BCD Tofu House

Can you believe I’d never been to Korean stew chain BCD Tofu House until this past week? I certainly can’t! It’s pretty great! An instant classic! Anyway, it is a total solid, and I was happy to have both some gochujang-smothered pieces of pork belly with an utterly delightful tofu stew as part of a dinner combo. The stew had tofu, head-on shrimp, clams, and nicely textured pieces of beef, and it hit the spot on a night where the temperatures had dipped. Also excellent: the slew of banchan that accompanies the meal. The $21.99 price tag for the whole ordeal made it a downright steal. 5 West 32nd St., between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, Koreatown — Serena Dai, editor

September 4

Boiled fish at Guan Fu

Boiled fish is one of my go-to orders at a Sichuan restaurant, and I was beyond delighted by a version ($23.80) at Guan Fu, a sleek restaurant in a Flushing development off of Main Street. The orange broth and mass of chiles might suggest searing heat, but instead, spice rolled onto the tongue in soft, delicate, and rounded waves. I could have picked at it all day, and was enraged for a good hour when the server mistakenly threw it out instead of packing it up for leftovers. 39-16 Prince St., at 39th Avenue, Flushing — Serena Dai, editor

Lu rou fan at Ho Foods

I’m one of those humans who insists on eating hot noodle soup throughout the year, even during the summer months. And judging by the fact that every single seat was filled at Ho Foods on a recent weeknight, when the humidity made all of New York feel like a Russian sauna, I know I’m not the only person with such an addiction. But guess what? It actually was too hot for soup; the guy next to me was sweating in the air-conditioned space as he slurped. But it was not too hot for lu rou fan, the classic Taiwanese dish of stewed pork belly over rice. And it was perfect, the fattiness of the sweet, musky pork belly coating the individual grains of rice. The $8 side dish packed just the right amount of restrained nourishment for such a steamy day. 110 East Seventh Street near First Avenue, East Village — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Vitello tonnato at Via Carota
Vitello tonnato at Via Carota
Robert Sietsema

Vitello tonnato at Via Carota

One of the most unusual northern Italian dishes is vitello tonnato, which originated in the mountainous Piedmont region. It consists of a veal leg roasted to rareness and thinly sliced. Once arrayed across the plate, a creamy sauce usually made with canned tuna is poured over, adding a salty and slightly fishy flavor to a very mild meat. The version at Via Carota ($23) sprinkles fried capers across the top of the dish, adding tartness and crunch, making the dish even more memorable. 51 Grove St., between Bleecker Street and Seventh Avenue, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Pho ga at Di An Di

Like any noodle soup regardless of the cuisine, the pho ga ($14) — a hearty Vietnamese noodle soup made with chicken broth and tender poached chicken — at Greenpoint hotspot Di An Di is instant comfort food. The ginger scallion condiment served alongside the soup adds a slight kick, and the broth feels almost medicinal. It’s especially good with the smoky, spicy “Smoke Gets In Your Thighs” cocktail, which has mezcal, Thai chile concentrate, orange liqueur, and lime. 68 Greenpoint Ave., between West and Franklin streets, Greenpoint — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Meatball insalata at Brando’s Citi Cucina
Meatball insalata at Brando’s Citi Cucina
Stefanie Tuder

Meatball insalata at Brando’s Citi Cucina

Old-school Italian joint Brando’s Citi Cucina does red sauce classics right in Asbury Park on the Jersey Shore, and at a recent meal I particularly enjoyed the meatball appetizer ($14). It’s two massive fried meatballs, one served in Sunday gravy and the other in garlic oil, with a tangy and bitter red wine vinaigrette salad separating the two. It was a nice change from just meatballs in tomato sauce, and the naked version still managed to stand up to the sauced one with its garlicky flavor. The salad provided perfect refreshment from the meat. 162 Main St. at Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, New Jersey — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

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